Actually, You Can evokes feelings of harmony, crazy love, upbeat insanity and the occasional burst of downright joy in your body as Deerhoof play with sound like it’s a piece of elastic on acid.
As governments across the globe build more defences to stop us escaping, stop us expressing and stop us thinking, it is music like that of Deerhoof, that reminds us that love and light within each other is the only way that we are going to win the war against fascist capitalism. As those in charge zip our mouths shut, this band are trying desperately to open them.
Deerhoof have always been more of a movement than a band. Harnessing each other’s creativity and exploding together in their recordings and on stage as an orchestra of dead leaves and apple blossom that float and dip in a hurricane of sound. Starting out in 1994 California, drummer Greg Saunier, bassist and singer Satomi Matsuzaki and guitarists John Dietrich and Ed Rodriguez have created another album that music writers are burning to write about.
The noise punk of the 90’s Deerhoof in ‘Dirt Pirate Creed’ is now a more refined, artistic show of solidarity. Following on as a sort of sibling to their album released last year, Actually, You Can is a creation to sink your mind into and let your spirit guide you to where it wants to be. It’s clever, it’s loud, and it’s a revolution.
The album’s soul traverses between in the idea of smashing the system of society, freeing the minds of the people and allowing ourselves to feel love again. To express our creativity and to appreciate the Earth in all its natural glory. These points are melted into a kind of renaissance, Christianity vibe with references to the ‘Gates of Hell’ and “turn(ing) water into wine”. Catholicism reigns through the lyrics. Is our perception of the messages we are taught skewed? Is it our fault?
Each song seems to take a spoon from the mind of another expectation. ‘Plant Thief’ is arguably 26 words that accurately sum up what a mother is reckoned to be. Other tracks like ‘Ancient Mysteries Described’ touch on new rules and social norms that we blindly follow. Track seven, ‘Our Philosophy is Fiction’ is very slow – it waves towards the idea that we are all dead inside while our souls sleep. Will we wake up from the circle of notifications and outgoing mail before it’s too late?
This art-music is best listened to with lyrics in-hand. The short few lines for each piece tell the story like a beautiful caption to the sound. The music an audio ekphrasis. It is as though they are leaving a heritage of a discography. The future they predicted is here. It’s a whirlwind back to the beginning again, we need saving, but only we can save ourselves.
Who knows, maybe we can use their record catalogue as a map to salvation? Or is it, like all art, subjective, and for us to decide ourselves?
“Think of all the beauty, positivity and love that gets deemed ugly, negative and hateful by the self-proclaimed guardians of ‘common sense.’ We’d hardly be destroying society by dismantling their colonial economics and prisons and gender roles and aesthetics. We’d be creating it!” – Deerhoof
Deerhoof continue their symbiotic relationship with Bandcamp, sharing the new album for fans to listen to on the site for one whole day to show appreciation for the site. Actually, You Can was released alongside its lead single ‘Department of Corrections’. The single is available on Bandcamp, and if you pre-order the album you get three tracks to listen to instantly with your order.